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Written Answers. - Organ Retention.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 121. Mr. Crowe Information on Sean Crowe Zoom on Sean Crowe  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  if a statutory inquiry into the retention of children's organs at hospitals will be established. [18679/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I met representatives of Parents for Justice last night and listened carefully to their concerns about the investigatory process. While they acknowledged that the inquiry chaired by Ms Anne Dunne, SC has dealt sensitively and thoroughly with parents and next of kin who have been called for interview, they expressed concerns about the length of time it is taking for the inquiry to carry out its work. They also believe, based on legal advice that they have received, that the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children may not be able to conduct hearings into the report of the inquiry when it becomes available, as had been envisaged when the inquiry was established.

I informed the group that I share its concerns in relation to the timeframe for the inquiry; it was expected to conclude in September but it is now clear that the completion of the inquiry is some considerable time off. I indicated to the group that I was prepared to explore possible options for expediting the completion of the report of the inquiry.

As regards the referral of the report of the inquiry to the Oireachtas committee, I reiterated [1203] that it has been and remains my intention that the investigation into organ retention issues will have a statutory phase. If it transpires that it is not possible to do so through an Oireachtas committee, I gave a commitment to the group that it would be done through another forum.

I regret the decision by Parents for Justice to withdraw from the inquiry process at this stage. I am of course available for further discussions with Parents for Justice in relation to this matter.

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